I call it a “Location Scouting” trip, mostly because I know this — I want to go back again!!! (here’s a few shots from the photo book I always create after each trip).
First, a little about Ireland
What an absolutely magical place! The Irish people are as warm, witty, and kind as everyone said they would be, and we had an absolutely wonderful experience from beginning to end. It truly is a beautiful country, and even though I just saw a tiny bit of it for five days, it makes you want to spend months there and just explore the countryside and learn more about the people, their history, and their lives.
Now, for the shooting
This was a family vacation trip (joining me, Kalebra and the kids was my brother Jeff and my in-laws, so we were seven in total). I knew from the outset that photography would not be the focus, and honestly, that was fine with me. I never got up for a dawn shoot (it would have awakened the wifey and kids for sure), and at sunset we were usually at dinner, so I just had to shoot in whatever light was there. The only problem was — there wasn’t much light at all.
Ahhhhh, the weather
We were there for five days (with two travel days on either end), and it rained every single day. All day. When you woke up, the sky was dark gray and it looked like it was ready to rain. If you looked outside and didn’t see dark gray clouds, it was only because was already raining. There were a few moments each day when the sky would start to clear a bit and the rain would pause, but literally just for few minutes here and there. I read while I was there that July had been Ireland’s rainiest month in history, and August was already looking like a record-setter as well. Yup, that’s when we chose to go. (LOL!).
I didn’t push that shutter enough
I only shot around 150 shots a day total, including multiple frames shot for HDR and Panos, which is really low for me (I shoot twice that in a 3-hour football game), but the weather kind of limited what I could shoot. For example, we drove out to the famous Cliffs of Moher, and it was so socked in with fog and rain, we couldn’t see 50 feet in front of us (not to mention it was windy and cold!. Brrrrrrr!). So, while me and my gear got plenty wet, I never pushed the shutter button once.
We had originally planned to get up to Galway, and spend more time in Cork, and to see Shannon a bit, and well… we where having so much fun (we got to stay in Dromoland castle, which everybody loved — especially my six-year-old daughter), that we wound up doing more relaxing and playing around they we had planned, but it made for an incredibly fun vacation for everybody.
I took my Nikon D4 (so I could shoot in really low light if necessary), and I took two lenses: My 28-300mm f/3.5 to f/5.6 VR lens, and I had tried out a 16-35mm f/2.8 lens from LensProToGo.com (awesome folks — highly recommended) a few weeks back, so this time around I borrowed Matt’s 16-35mm and it’s a great little lens (though I can’t really justify buying one when I already have a 14-24mm, but the advantage of the 16-35mm is that you can use 77mm screw-on filters (like the 8-stop Tiffen ND I took with me). I also took an Oben travel tripod with a Really Right Stuff Ballhead. That’s pretty much it (I actually did take a lightweight flash kit, but never even got a chance to use it once).
The danger of setting your own expectations
I had in my mind the kind of shots I was hoping to come back with. You know the ones —- the tiny thatched-hut village with a quaint dirt road overflowing with a flock of sheep and stranding a Land Rover. Well, I never saw anything like that. That’s the danger of setting expectations — you go thinking you’re going to get a particular type of shot, but then the reality of where you wind up sets in you’re disappointed with your shots, (which I was), and it’s not Ireland’s fault, and its not the weather’s fault. It’s my fault. I should have gone open to whatever came my way, instead of standing there saying “This isn’t what I was really looking for. It must be somewhere else here.”
Now that the trip is over, and I put my photo book together (seen here), I’m happier with what I got then I was while I was there, but it sure makes me want to go back and capture those giant waves crashing against the coast, and sheep in the streets, and sweeping landscapes under crisp blue skies. I now have a better idea where I want to go when I go back, and I have some specific locations I want to return to. I also want more than five days.
Contrast this with Cuba or India
In India, I had a guide and driver, and it was just Kalebra and I so we could cover a lot of ground each day. If I saw something I wanted to shoot, the driver would just literally pull over. If I wanted to shoot a particular thing, the guide knew right where to take me. Same thing in Cuba. But in Ireland, we were literally on our own — seven of us in two rental cars, so it definitely changes how you shoot on your trip.
If it sounds like I’m complaining, it’s only about my photography failures, because I had one of my best vacations ever (and we got to celebrate my wife’s birthday while we were there, which was a blast). I saw a beautiful country, met some lovely people, I watched Olympic boxing in a pub with a pint of Murphy’s, I got to stay in an amazing castle, watched my daughter learn archery (and she rocked it!), watched my son row across a still lake in the morning mist, saw my wife experience a life-long dream (I’ll leave that for her to tell on her G+ page), and saw my brother make a beautiful chip up out of the bunker right and land right near the hole on the 18th green. We had lots of laughs, wonderful meals, and at one point we almost drove straight into a stream (another story, with more laughs). It really was a perfect trip, and set me up to go back again when photography is the focus, and I can’t wait to go again to shoot, and to return once again for another family vacation just like it.
Thanks to everyone here and on my Google+ page who sent me ideas on where to visit, where to shoot, where to stay, where to eat, and what not to miss. I missed some of it, but now I have a perfect excuse to go back to one of the most beautiful, warm, welcoming places I’ve ever seen. :-)
Dancers in Flight with Beautiful Light
That’s the latest class from Joe McNally on KelbyTraining.com! Join Joe in the studio as he works with small lights and big lights to capture the grace and beauty of dancers in action.
Leave a comment for your chance to win a 1-month Kelby Training subscription!
Kelby Training Live
Want to see Scott Kelby, RC Concepcion, Joe McNally, and Matt Kloskowski live and in person? Check out these seminar tour dates coming up this month!
We’re giving away three tickets to these seminars, so leave a comment for your chance to win one!
We’re quickly approaching Photoshop World Vegas, at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino September 5-7! You didn’t hear it from me, but word on the street is that, even though we’re technically past the cutoff date to get special room rates at Mandalay Bay, you can still get the rate if rooms are still available.
And, if you register in the next week, we’ll give one lucky person a free Pro Pass upgrade! This will get you an After Hour Party Ticket, NAPP Backpack, NAPP Badge Holder, T-Shirt, and more. When you register, leave a comment here, and I’ll choose the winner next week.
QuickStart for Photoshop CS6 from Dave Cross
Check out QuickStart for Photoshop CS6, a free iPad app from Dave Cross that covers the new and improved features in Photoshop CS6, complete with screen captures and some free videos. You can also purchase an additional 25 in-depth videos through an in-app purchase if you’d like to go deeper.
Or be one of the first people to use one of these two codes to get them for free!
Last Week’s Winners
Photoshop CS6 for Photographers Seminar
- Chuck Adams
Kelby Training 1-Month Subscription
- Patrick Farrington
Vincent Versace’s From Oz to Kansas
- Will Milne
Hey gang, Brad here with a quick bit of news. I just got this email from Mpix and wanted to share it with you! Check it out:
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Head over to Mpix.com now to put in your order!
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A couple of different ways of looking at the Olympics
My partner Lucinda Marland and I were chatting a couple of years ago about the London 2012 Olympic Games and how we could get involved. We came up with a plan to shoot environmental portraits of Britain’s oldest Olympic Gold medalists, we felt that today’s youth obsessed society either overlooked or had forgotten about their achievements.
We spent the next two years reaching out to the Gold medalists and we managed to shoot all 14 of them (they had a combined age of over a thousand years). It culminated in an exhibition overlooking the London 2012 Olympic stadiums earlier this year. In fact if you are in London at the moment a selection of them are on display in the John Lewis store, Oxford street.
With my new found interest in the Olympics my eye caught the furore regarding Joe Klamar’s Team USA photographs.
I really can be quite unsympathetic when I see bad photography.
Particularly when it is by a ‘Pro’ working for a major and world renowned organisation.
When I first became aware of the furore surrounding these shots, I really was pretty astounded by what I saw, and despite all the excuses from his photo editor the pictures are, apart from a couple of exceptions, pretty rotten.
Nothing can really put into words what is wrong with them, lighting, execution, concept.
They are, in my opinion less than optimum…..
As I’m sure Joe Klamar (whom I have never met, nor do I have any connection with) would readily admit to, over a beer perhaps.
If you are expecting me to join in giving Joe Klamar a verbal lashing, which in my mind has been similar to the stoning scene in ‘The Life of Brian’ where all the women are wearing fake beards, well think again.
I have committed similar photo crimes to Joe and so very much worse too.
Let me explain.
The photos are generally indefensible until you read his account of the assignment.
‘I was under the impression that I was going to be photographing athletes on a stage or during press conference where I would take their headshots for our archives [and] I really had no idea that there would be a possibility for setting up a studio’.
I have seen some pretty strong comments from all comers.
But I would ask any of them to consider this.
What would you have done?
It’s all very well winning ‘blah, blah’ photo of the month with some unforced photo of something you like to shoot and had some kind of control or input in.
With the possibility of planning too.
Joe was sent on the equivalent of a photo suicide mission.
Without wishing to play the blame game, one could look elsewhere.
What brief was he given?
Most of my photo apocolypses have been set up by either poor briefing (ie not telling the photographer what they were getting into) or when I have not listened to the brief properly.
I have no idea which it was but these are scenarios which are possibilities.
The comment which cropped up often was ‘I could have done better with my iPhone, and in the right conditions I dare say we all could.
And there is the rub, in the right conditions.
Consider the excellent American baseball team photos by Nick Laham, shot on an iPhone in the restroom, seemingly against the odds but there was some form of preparation, note the KinoFlo’s (I LOVE them!), and I’m prepared to wager he was not fighting with every other news organisation to get the shot either.
The difference between an amateur and a pro is that as a pro you HAVE to take a photo as someone is paying you.
You don’t have the luxury of an amateur of choosing when to pick the camera up or indeed what you shoot.
Imagine it was you who was sent to shoot this super high profile assignment unprepared, not knowing what the possibilities were, and having all the wrong gear.
On the AFP blog, Joe tells how he arrived with 2 bodies, 3 lenses and one flash unit……….oh dear.
After the wave of nausea had swept over you and, providing you were still standing, you would have to come up with some sort of plan, and quickly.
You might have done better than he did or you may have cracked under the pressure and done even worse.
He shot something which was not his finest moment, though I do actually like the shot of the guy with the dreads.
There is a native American saying which we could all do well to pay heed to ’Never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.’
Hey everyone, RC here. Just wanted to share something that one of our Photoshop Guys did recently that I thought was just too cool!
Hands down Corey Barker is one of the most talented #Photoshop artists out there. With all of the Olympics fever coming around, Corey wanted to see if he could re-create the entire olympics logo, right inside of Photoshop. He took a timelapse of it, and I think its a wonderful 2 and a half minutes of watching the guy work. Thanks for the inspiration, Corey!